Levee calculations

I can’t track down the original source here, but it sounds broadly consistent with other things I’ve read:

Under the 100-year standard…experts say that every house being rebuilt in New Orleans has a
26 percent chance of being flooded again over a 30-year mortgage; and
every child born in New Orleans would have nearly a 60 percent chance
of seeing a major flood in his or her life…

At the same time, the corps
has run into funding problems, lawsuits, a tangle of local interests
and engineering difficulties — all of which has led to delays in
getting the promised work done.

An initial
September 2010 target to complete the $14.8 billion in post-Katrina
work has slipped to mid-2011. Then last September, an Army audit found
84 percent of work behind schedule because of engineering complexities,
environmental provisos and real estate transactions. The report added
that costs would likely soar.  A more recent
analysis shows the start of 84 of 156 projects was delayed — 15 of
them by six months or more. Meanwhile, a critical analysis of what it
would take to build even stronger protection — 500-year-type levees —
was supposed to be done last December but remains unfinished.

On the road to recovery, the
agency has installed faulty drainage pumps, used outdated measurements,
issued incorrect data, unearthed critical flaws, made conflicting
statements about flood risk and flunked reviews by the National
Research Council.

When it comes to storm protection and urban reconstruction, "halfway" is not a good solution.  There could have been a real rebuilding and protection, or the price signals from insurance companies could have been allowed to shrink the city more fundamentally than what happened.  Here is a relevant study.


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